Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kreator - Extreme Aggression

Extreme Aggression is not what I would consider to be a “highlight” in Kreator’s career. Especially not as much as Pleasure to Kill, Cause for Conflict, Enemy of God, and Hordes of Chaos. I’ve had Kreator’s entire discography for almost two years now and I will say that there aren’t any disappointing records to be found. But there are a couple of mediocre ones that I would only listen to if I was in the middle of a temporary thrash metal phase (like the one I’ve been experiencing for the past week or so). So while I’m listening to all of these thrash metal albums that I don’t normally listen to, I thought that it would be a good idea to review some of them while this phase is still present so that I can have a chance to actually get a closer look at these records.

The reason why I want to talk about THIS album in particular is because now that I’ve taken the time to actually LISTEN to it with great intensity, it turns out that this album is actually significantly better than I originally thought. Which lead me to conclude that the reason I’m not too fond of this album isn’t because it lacks certain elements and qualities, but because there are several things about it that just fucking bug me. But then again, there are some things about Extreme Aggression that lack importance and that are less than they are in other Kreator albums, so I guess I stand corrected. The first thing that bothers me about this album is that there’s not NEARLY as much edge in the music as I would like.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m not receiving that anger-filled energy that I’m used to getting from thrash metal albums, especially from Kreator. Pleasure to Kill instantly gave Kreator the reputation of being an extremely brutal and edgy thrash metal band. And their next album, Terrible Certainty did nothing but strengthen that reputation. The ironically-named Extreme Aggression speaks with more of a sound that Slayer’s first album does, which isn’t anything at all like Pleasure to Kill or Terrible Certainty. For those of you that think that I’m forgetting Endless Pain, I’m not, I’m just not including it because it has a whole different sound all together. So with more of a traditional thrash metal sound, but still with the unique Kreator vibe, the German thrashers (whom by this time were pretty big) decided to expand their musical horizons.

The guitars are more melodic and less focused on the REALLY FAST low chords with really crunchy distortions. The guitar solos on this album are slower and aren’t just pure high-pitched shredding. As well as that, the distortion isn’t nearly as loud and gritty as the previous albums. The bassist tends to follow the guitars more closely than ever before, which has led to a much less interesting bass line. I don’t have a problem what so ever with Kreator progressing their sound, but if they want to progress their sound, they have to progress ALL of their sound. In other words, they’ve moved their music in a softer direction, but the vocals still sound like they always have. Petrozza still does those extremely harsh vocals from when Kreator was a thrash black band. Although the grit is significantly less in Extreme Aggression, it still creates WAY too much contrast with the openly melodic changes in the music. So that’s what mainly bothers me about this record.

Extreme Aggression is by no means an album I would consider to be a good first impression for Kreator. In fact, I would only recommend it to the thrash metal fans that haven’t heard it yet. Despite the unnecessary contrasts and the roughness, the album checks out to be a good thrash record with a nice solid base. If you want to REALLY build up your thrash metal collection, this would be a great addition to have, especially if you’re looking for old school thrash releases. I would give Extreme Aggression 11/20.